Wednesday 1 March 2017

Jack Grealish aware of England's wish to bring him on board, says Hodgson

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Jack Grealish aware of England interest
Jack Grealish aware of England interest

Roy Hodgson insists that Jack Grealish is fully aware that he is wanted by England and believes that Ireland should respect his decision if he chooses to switch allegiance.

Hodgson expects that the Aston Villa youngster will stick with his September deadline for deciding his future and insisted that the FA will not be putting any pressure on the 19-year-old. But he stressed that the player's camp know England rate him highly.

"Dan Ashworth (technical director), Gareth Southgate (U-21) and Aidy Boothroyd (U-20) have been in regular contact with him, his family and his advisors," said Hodgson. "So he's fully aware that if he wants to play for England, we'd be very happy to take him.

"My opinion is that he is at a young age and he has the qualities that make him a very good future international player but I don't want any pressure. If he doesn't want to play or he has doubts, then don't play. We want people who want to be there.

"He has two opportunities. The families are important and they have an Irish connection as well as English and it's up to them to decide. When they decide, whoever is the loser should respect it and wish him all the best."

Grealish rejected a call from Martin O'Neill for the meeting between the two nations on June 7. Hodgson was not tempted to respond by offering the teenager a place in his panel. "It would have been inflammatory if he chose us and played against Ireland. Come the autumn, whoever gets him will be lucky.

"He's technically gifted, he can manipulate the ball in tight areas, he's a player who like so many of our younger players is able to play without fear - which is very nice."

QPR's Charlie Austin, Leicester's Jamie Vardy and Burnley 'keeper Tom Heaton have received maiden calls for the Dublin trip.

Irish Independent

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